Friday, August 28, 2009

Tropical Storm Danny’s On His Way!

Our friend, Kitty, once remarked that the presence of Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel is a ill omen because it means a bad storm is coming. Well, Jim reported this morning from Quincy, Massachusetts. This is bad, very bad, as Kitty’s new email, which Chris just read to me this second, stresses. But we’ve got high hopes that things will be OK. Right now, we are still in the zone of death (no, no, I didn’t mean death, I meant danger!), although the forecast is for Danny to start veering toward the northeast before it gets to New England; Cape Cod will probably get the worst weather. Also, Town River, where we’re anchored, is supposed to be a good hurricane hole. So we’ve put out a couple of extra anchors and are crossing our fingers. Wish us luck! And to our friends out their on their own boats – stay safe!

A Trip to the Massachusetts North Shore

We’ve been staying on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Boston being the dividing line between north and south. Some friends of ours from the St. Pete Municipal Marina, Alex and Gary, live on the North Shore, and had invited us to visit. So we did.
Alex and Gary have a house on the Merrimac River, and a mooring that they generously allowed us to use. And I must say, don’t we look on it, in this view from their living room window?) We originally intended to stay a couple of nights, but when Hurricane Bill threatened New England, we stayed on until it was safe to venture out. While there, we visited with Alex and Gary and ate wonderful greens and vegetables from Alex’s garden, walked all around Amesbury and Newburyport, and took refreshing swims in the river. Freshwater swimming is so different from saltwater swimming in that you actually feel clean when you come out of freshwater – what a change! My sister, Dianne, and her partner, Ellen, also came down from New Hampshire to visit, and we strolled around the nature preserve on Plum Island (where Anne was viciously bitten by a green-head fly, with fangs). The North Shore is probably known to many people by its towns, cities, and harbors: Marblehead, Salem (yes, of witches fame), Rockport, Ipswich (as in clams), and Gloucester. The scenery was beautiful, but our camera unfortunately was in the shop as it had crapped out on us, so we were unable to take any pictures. However, that just gives us incentive to make the trip again!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Girl’s Weekend on the Cape

Every year, Anne’s mother and two of her sisters, Linda and Karen, spend a weekend with my cousin, Patti, at Patti’s condo on Cape Cod. I (Anne) have been fortunate enough to join them the last three years, and we have a ball. We eat most meals in, and boy, does everyone go all out in creating great dishes. Pictured above is our breakfast of blueberry-and-cream-cheese-stuffed French toast, served with cantaloupe and pots and pots of tea. Just the thing to keep us going during a long day of poking through the shops! We always see a show at a local theater on Saturday night; this year it was My Fair Lady at the Cape Rep Theater. Other years we have shopped at a flea market, eaten chowder on the outdoor porch of the beautiful Chatham Bars Inn (while great whites were munching on seals offshore), and visited the Edward Gorey house. If you’ve ever watched Mystery on PBS, you’ve seen Gorey’s artwork, with his whimsical black-and-white, Victorian-era British characters. Anne also saw a staging of Dracula with the set design by Gorey; everything was black and white, with a single piece of red (a rose, red wine) in each scene; very dramatic. Below is a piece of artwork that Anne loved and just had to buy for the boat; not only is the theme relevant to being asea, but it matches the new upholstery fabric color in the salon!

Cape Cod – A Great Place for a Vacation

Want to spend a perfect day on the Cape? First, wake to the sound of birds singing in the pines. Then head to one of the many nearby beaches to lounge, swim, play, and hunt for crabs (there were lots of blue crabs on the ebb tide at South Village Beach this year!). Take a picnic lunch to enjoy. In the afternoon, come back home and luxuriate in the hot water of the enclosed outdoor shower; there’s nothing like showering off the beach sand while looking at the trees overhead and feeling the nice cool breeze! Relax on the deck with a drink while your dinner cooks on the gas grill, and eat al fresco under the stars. Top the day off with a walk or drive to Sundae School for one of the best ice cream sundaes you’ve ever had. Tomorrow you can repeat today’s activities, or perhaps you’ll be in the mood to go to sea on a seal or whale watch, drive to the National Sea Shore or Provincetown, go antiquing along the scenic Route 6A, take in a Cape Cod League baseball game, see a show at a community theater, race go-carts and jump on a trampoline, catch a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, or any one of a myriad activities available.

The day I described above is pretty much the day we enjoyed recently at Anne’s sister’s vacation house on the Cape (pictured here, dog not included!), which we shamelessly advertise here. She rents it out during both the summer and the off-season. Located on a quiet street in Dennisport, the house sleeps eight in three bedrooms and on a fold-out couch in the living room. If you are interested in renting the house, or just hearing more about it, contact Karen or Paul at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Pleasure of Just Sailing

Anne’s brother, Greg, has a great 15-foot sailboat that he brought down to Town River one day. Here’s a picture of Greg and Chris sailing around one afternoon while Anne and Meg (Greg’s wife) drank wine in Mr Mac’s cockpit and cheered them on. Chris has been complaining about the water getting cooler as we have come north, wondering how anyone could swim when the water was less than 80 degrees (we’ve wimped out living in Florida). He found out, however, when they flipped and ended up in the drink. Chris can’t complain, though, since he was at the tiller at the time!

This is the same boat that Greg and Anne were sailing around Quincy Bay last summer when great white sharks were feasting on seals off of Chatam on Cape Cod, only about 50 miles away. A bit unnerving when you're that close to the water, and the sharks out-size the boat!


One cool thing about cruising is seeing all the great lighthouses and shoal markers. Here are just a few that we’ve seen so far.
Cove Point Light, Cheseapeake Bay (caught mid-flash!)

Delaware Bay

Lower New York Harbor

Plymouth Channel, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Minot Light, Massachusetts Bay

Quincy, Massachusetts: My (Anne’s) Hometown

Well, we’ve met the goal for this leg of our cruise: Quincy, Massachusetts, birthplace of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Hancock (John obviously was a popular name in the 1700s…), Howard Johnson (…and later migrated to last names) restaurants, Dunkin Donuts (of which we are very fond of the iced, not frosted, chocolate cake donuts, or a nice, warm plain donut). We’re anchored in Town River (shown below), near the Town River Yacht Club. Space for anchoring here is scarce, so we’re near the YC mooring field. Being from Florida (where the anchoring/mooring issue is quite contentious), we rather expected them to call us on it and make us move, and weren’t surprised when, a couple of days after anchoring, a fellow dinghyed out from the YC. We were pleasantly surprised, however, when he asked if there was anything we needed, told us we were welcome to use their dinghy dock, and invited us to a fish fry. Now that’s a warm welcome! Anne is familiar with the TRYC, having hung around here with friends-with-boats during high school. In fact, this is where she first saw the boat Pipe Dream, with hanging plants, and said that she could live on a boat big enough for hanging plants. It’s nice when pipe dreams come true.